Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan

The Monacelli Press, LLC
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Free sample

Since its original publication in 1978, Delirious New York has attained mythic status. Back in print in a newly designed edition, this influential cultural, architectural, and social history of New York is even more popular, selling out its first printing on publication. Rem Koolhaas's celebration and analysis of New York depicts the city as a metaphor for the incredible variety of human behavior. At the end of the nineteenth century, population, information, and technology explosions made Manhattan a laboratory for the invention and testing of a metropolitan lifestyle -- "the culture of congestion" -- and its architecture.

"Manhattan," he writes, "is the 20th century's Rosetta Stone . . . occupied by architectural mutations (Central Park, the Skyscraper), utopian fragments (Rockefeller Center, the U.N. Building), and irrational phenomena (Radio City Music Hall)." Koolhaas interprets and reinterprets the dynamic relationship between architecture and culture in a number of telling episodes of New York's history, including the imposition of the Manhattan grid, the creation of Coney Island, and the development of the skyscraper. Delirious New York is also packed with intriguing and fun facts and illustrated with witty watercolors and quirky archival drawings, photographs, postcards, and maps. The spirit of this visionary investigation of Manhattan equals the energy of the city itself.
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About the author

Rem Koolhaas is the internationally known architect, a founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.) in Rotterdam, and author of the critically acclaimed S,M,L,XL.
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Additional Information

Publisher
The Monacelli Press, LLC
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Published on
Jul 1, 2014
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781580934107
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Criticism
Architecture / History / General
Architecture / Regional
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This book brings to light central topics that are neglected in current histories and theories of architecture and urbanism. These include the role of imitation in earlier centuries and its potential role in present practice; the necessary relationship between architecture, urbanism and the rural districts; and their counterpart in the civil order that builds and uses what is built. The narrative traces two models for the practice of architecture. One follows the ancient model in which the architect renders his service to serve the interests of others; it survives and is dominant in modernism. The other, first formulated in the fifteenth century by Leon Battista Alberti, has the architect use his talent in coordination with others to contribute to the common good of a republican civil order that seeks to protect its own liberty and that of its citizens. Palladio practiced this way, and so did Thomas Jefferson when he founded a uniquely American architecture, the counterpart to the nation’s founding. This narrative gives particular emphasis to the contrasting developments in architecture on the opposite sides of the English Channel. The book presents the value for clients and architects today and in the future of drawing on history and tradition. It stresses the importance, indeed, the urgency, of restoring traditional practices so that we can build just, beautiful, and sustainable cities and rural districts that will once again assist citizens in living not only abundantly but also well as they pursue their happiness.
The expansion of cities in the late C19th and middle part of the C20th in the developing and the emerging economies of the world has one major urban corollary: it caused the proliferation of unplanned parts of the cities that are identified by a plethora of terminologies such as bidonville, favela, ghetto, informal settlements, and shantytown. Often, the dwellings in such settlements are described as shacks, architecture of necessity, and architecture of everyday experience in the modern and the contemporary metropolis. This volume argues that the types of structures and settlements built by people who do not have access to architectural services in many cities in the developing parts of the world evolved simultaneously with the types of buildings that are celebrated in architecture textbooks as 'modernism.' It not only shows how architects can learn from traditional or vernacular dwellings in order to create habitations for the people of low-income groups in public housing scenarios, but also demonstrates how the architecture of the economically underprivileged classes goes beyond culturally-inspired tectonic interpretations of vernacular traditions by architects for high profile clients. Moreover, the essays explore how the resourceful dwellings of the underprivileged inhabitants of the great cities in developing parts of the world pioneered certain concepts of modernism and contemporary design practices such as sustainable and de-constructivist design. Using projects from Africa, Asia, South and Central America, as well as Austria and the USA, this volume interrogates and brings to the attention of academics, students, and practitioners of architecture, the deliberate disqualification of the modern architecture produced by the urban poor in different parts of the world.
You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction. After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in the form of three books which will, in their words, "lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building and planning, which will we hope replace existing ideas and practices entirely." The three books are The Timeless Way of Building, The Oregon Experiment, and this book, A Pattern Language. At the core of these books is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical (it implies a radical transformation of the architectural profession) but it comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people. At the core of the books, too, is the point that in designing their environments people always rely on certain "languages," which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a forma system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable a person to make a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. "Patterns," the units of this language, are answers to design problems (How high should a window sill be? How many stories should a building have? How much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees?). More than 250 of the patterns in this pattern language are given: each consists of a problem statement, a discussion of the problem with an illustration, and a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seemly likely that they will be a part of human nature, and human action, as much in five hundred years as they are today.
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect and engineer flourishing in the first century B.C., was the author of the oldest and most influential work on architecture in existence. For hundreds of years, the specific instructions he gave in his "Ten Books on Architecture" were followed faithfully, and major buildings in all parts of the world reveal the widespread influence of his precepts. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, he was "the chief authority studied by architects, and in every point his precepts were accepted as final. Bramante, Michelangelo, Palladio, Vignola, and earlier were careful students of the work of Vitruvius." His book is thus one of those rare works that have been supremely important in the creation of the greatest art masterpieces.
Vitruvius describes the classic principles of symmetry, harmony, and proportion in architecture; the design of the treasury, prison, senate house, baths, forum, and temples; the construction of the theater: its site, foundations, and acoustics; the proper style and proportion for private dwellings; the differences between the Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian styles; methods of giving durability and beauty to polished finishings; and many other topics that help us understand the methods and beliefs of the Roman architect.
It is a direct, authoritative, and detailed introduction to the ancients' methods of construction, the materials of the architect, and the prevailing aesthetic beliefs of the times; but it is also a work of art. Vitruvius wrote in such a fascinating manner, and digressed from his subject so often (as, for instance, when he wrote about the winds, Archimedes in his bath, and why authors should receive awards and honors at least as often as athletes), that his book has had a continuing appeal to the general reader for many centuries. Besides being an instructive treatise on nearly everything connected with Roman and Greek architecture, it is an entertaining description of some aspects of the life and beliefs of the times. This edition is the standard English translation, prepared over a period of several years by Professor M. H. Morgan of Harvard University.
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